UN chief Guterres warns of Israel, Hezbollah escalation

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is concerned about the escalation of fighting over the past week between Israeli forces and Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon. He held a news conference at UN headquarters on Friday to warn that the risk of a widening conflict in the Middle East is "real."

Guterres said the people of the region and the people of the world cannot afford Lebanon to "become another Gaza." He added that "one rash move" could trigger a catastrophe that goes "beyond imagination."

Hezbollah fighters have thrown their support behind Hamas and say they will not stop fighting until Israel ends its aggression in Gaza.

Israeli forces, too, have continued their attacks. Since the conflict with Hamas began in October, they say they have killed several Hezbollah commanders and at least 300 fighters. They announced this week that they have approved operational plans for an offensive in Lebanon.

US leaders are doing what they can to avoid escalation. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met Thursday in Washington with Israeli leaders. He is pushing for a diplomatic resolution to secure the safety of Israeli and Lebanese civilians and for progress on a Gaza ceasefire.

President Joe Biden also dispatched a special envoy to meet with Lebanese and Israeli leaders. Amos Hochstein called the situation along the border between the two countries "very serious," adding that it is in "everyone's interest" to end the conflict now.